Six organizations battling opioid use disorders on the frontlines of Massachusetts’ communities will soon have reinforcements in the form of $50,000 design grants awarded this week by RIZE Massachusetts. The statewide philanthropic initiative selected the six grantees from a broad pool of applicants as part of its inaugural two-year, $2.3 million Saving Lives, Improving Health: Redesigning Opioid Use Disorder Care grant program. The six organizations, who will collaborate with agencies and organizations within their communities to design and expand systems of low-threshold, on-demand treatment to prevent and treat opioid use, include:
- Boston Healthcare for the Homeless Program
- Brockton Neighborhood Health Center
- Cambridge Health Alliance
- Center for Human Development (Worcester)
- Community Healthlink (Worcester)
- Lynn Community Health Center
“It’s quite clear there is enormous potential and energy in Massachusetts to address the opioid epidemic in a thoughtful, innovative, and evidence-generating manner,” says Partners HealthCare President and CEO David Torchiana, MD, who serves RIZE as its board chair. “This first round of design grant recipients all have proven track records of taking on tough health care challenges with creativity, compassion, and rigor.”
RIZE dovetails with statewide efforts underway through Partners to help the estimated four percent of Massachusetts residents battling opioid use disorder. These include the Substance Use Disorder Strategic Initiative providing support in Charlestown, Chelsea, and Revere, and the Partners Opioid Steering Committee, aimed at standardizing safe opioid prescribing practices in coordination with state legislation.
The RIZE grantees will design programs based on their initial proposals, aimed at supporting at-risk individuals with strategies including medication-assisted treatment. Though medication has proven to effectively cut the risk of death in half among overdose survivors, a mere five percent of these individuals are actually started on medicine. The grantees’ new strategies aimed at addressing these and other challenges will be evaluated using data protocols, and those with the greatest promise will be funded for implementation. That second set of grants will be awarded by RIZE in June 2018.
Find more information on the RIZE grant program here.